October 8, 2015

Rosa, Anthony & Chino Updates!

Thanks to you, since the release of Living On One Dollar, we have raised over $180,000 in donations to help the community of Peña Blanca and to provide educational and emergency assistance to Rosa, Anthony, and Chino’s families!

We’ve partnered with Mayan Families to help assess the greatest needs in the community, to directly implement solutions, and to monitor the progress that’s made over the coming years.

Together we decided the first thing to address was the school. With makeshift classrooms, lack of continual governmental support, and insufficient infrastructure all around, we’ve started construction on two additional classrooms to provide a safe environment for students to learn.

Check out before and after shots of the school you’re building!

Before construction!

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Photo Credit: Brendan James; Peña Blanca school under construction

Additionally, each week the Mayan Families staff delivers nutritious snacks to the students so they can stay focused and healthy while attending class. This is so important with Guatemala ranking 4th worst in the world in child malnutrition and stunting. Watch this episode to learn more.

Thankfully we’ve been able to keep in frequent contact with Rosa, Anthony, and Chino. Here are some updates we’re excited to share.

Every day Rosa is becoming a more capable nurse!

Rosa graduated from High School this fall at 27 years old with a pre-medical degree. Since January, she has been attending Nursing School at the University of Sololá and is also taking an internship at the Mayan Families Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic to supplement her studies. In addition, she continues to work with her mother to produce gorgeous handmade fabrics, which we put on our T-shirts and sell here on our website. She is doing a fantastic job and is showing even more potential to achieve her dream of becoming a Nurse each day. While following her story for the past five years, we have created a new short film on her story, Rosa – These Storms, that has been showing in U.S. film festivals and will soon be available for viewing online. Stay tuned!

Chino’s all grown up!

Chino & Cristina visiting the Mayan Families office

Photo Credit: Brendan James; Chino’s house under construction

Photo Credit: Brendan James; Cristina

Chino is now almost an adult! He even acts like one. Thankfully his family, including his brother and 6 sisters, are doing better by the day. With scholarships, all of Chino’s sisters are in school studying. Although when we went to visit them earlier this year, we learned several family members were suffering from gastritis and had a lack of regular food. Thankfully through donations like yours, we’ve been able to support them with food aid and medical care. Chino has been working in the capital selling dog food but we’re working with him to use the outpouring of generous support to help support his future. Currently we’re speaking with him about returning to Peña Blanca to take Computer, Spanish and Carpentry Classes as part of Mayan Families’ programs. We’ve also broken ground on construction on their house and they will soon have a brand new, sturdy and safe room for their 9-person family.

Anthony continues to be a leader in the community!

Anthony continues to do well in his job at a hotel in Panajachel but after almost a decade there, he’s hopeful to advance. He tells us he’s always wanted to work for a non-profit to help others – a talent that seems to come naturally to him. All of his children are sponsored by viewers of the film to receive the supplies and the fees they need to attend school. Anthony continues to help out where needed around the community and you will never find him without a smile on his face!

There is much more to come in our developments in the community, and we encourage you to stay tuned. The story has just begun and we have extremely high hopes. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the amazing supporters who have generously donated and shared in the joys of this community.

If you would like to be a part of this continued effort to change lives, please consider donating to our Peña Blanca Community Development Fund today. 

Lots of Love,

Chris, Zach, Sean, Ryan, and Hannah